The journey of Sugar

As I head to Bhagmalpur, I am reminded of my family’s sugarcane fields. The cane is crushed to produce sugarcane juice, which is then cooked in iron woks to make jaggery or Gud, as it is called in Hindi (गुड़). It’s quite an operation to go from sugarcane to Gud.

The etymology of Sugar reflects the geographical spread of this commodity as well. The English word “sugar” originates from the Arabic and Persian word “shakar”, which itself is derived from the Sanskrit word “sharkara”. Sugar came to English by way of Spanish/Italian/French words azúcar, zucchero, sucre. As an addendum, modern-day Rum comes from fermented molasses from sugarcane (produced in the Caribbean), comes from the last syllable of the Latin word for sugar, saccharum.

So, sharkara (sanskrit) -> shakar (arabic) -> sucre (French) -> sugar (English). Perhaps by extension, sugar (Python)? I’m off to harvest some sugarcane (गन्ना)



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